And now it’s starting to backslide.
The workforce reductions — coupled with ongoing challenges of low pay and spotty benefits for workers — have economists and policy experts sounding the alarm: If this industry falters further, it could spell trouble for the entire labor market as working parents scramble to find care for their kids.
“Now that we’re seeing a decrease [in employment], that should be worrying for many folks who are relying on these services,” said Caitlin McLean, director of multi-state and international programs at the University of California Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Child Care Employment.
“This is absolutely a contributor to the wider worker shortage that we’re seeing,” she added.
Every time a classroom goes virtual, a child care center caps out on enrollment or a day care center closes, parents — typically mothers — can’t go to work, she explained.
The child care industry was “barely getting by before…